The FINANCIAL -- Despite the economic downturn, numbers of job vacancies increased in 2013 according to employment-related sites operating in Georgia.
The sales and service sector has been the most popular profession of the last year, while small and medium-sized start-up businesses have been the major providers of employment for jobseekers. It is predicted that this trend will be maintained in 2014, however there remain various professions that the Georgian job market considers to be lacking in specialists.
“There was no reduction in vacancy numbers in 2013 in comparison with the previous year. There was a brief period in January and February when companies were in general less active in searching for new staff. This is characteristic of businesses during this time of the year however, as it is during this period that they are mostly focused on their budgeting and work plans for the rest of the year. It is from February onwards that companies become more active. I have been observing a large number of vacancies on employment-related sites. The only change has been in the dominance of the various categories of jobs advertised. Sales and service personnel have been dominating, with financiers following on the list,” Medea Tabatadze, Managing Partner at Insource Recruitment and Advisory, told The FINANCIAL.
“There were many start-up enterprises and accordingly they required financiers or accountants. Currently, small and medium-sized businesses are being more active in this regard than large-scale companies such as banks and insurance companies,” said Tabatadze.
According to Tabatadze, IT specialists are the highest-paid professionals on the market. Their average monthly salary is between GEL 3,000-3,500. Workers involved in the construction business are also paid well. Marketing and financial specialists are quite well remunerated too.
Finding a good professional in any field can be difficult, but Tabatadze listed a number of professions of which there is a particular deficit on the Georgian job market. “Retail specialist, trade marketer, logistics specialist, production manager, engineer, director, those who can maintain a network and then effectively manage it, food and beverage producer - all of these are professions that are hard to find on the Georgian labour market. There is also a shortage of technologists, quality management professionals and regional vacancies.”
“Hospitality is another field in which there is a lack of good potential employees. The majority of employees in this sector get their skills only through actual work practice and experience,” she added.
9,463 vacancies were uploaded to hr.gov.ge during the whole of 2013. In 2012 the number was 822 and in 2011 it was 138.
“The following professional fields were the most in-demand during 2013: administration (with 656 applications), juridical (617 applications), forest management (612), health (544) and management (425),” said Tamta Tsotskhalashvili, Head of the Civil Service Reform and Development Department, Civil Service Bureau of Georgia.
The average wage amounts offered for the five most highly-demanded professions were: GEL 1,034 for administration, GEL 1,172 for juridical, GEL 734 for forest management, GEL 923 for health, and GEL 1,695 for management.
The National Forest Agency published the largest number of vacancies - 586 in total, followed by the State Military Scientific - Technical Center Delta - with 510 vacancies, and the Revenue Service - with 398.
“The number of daily visitors to our website is 11,000. The number of unique visitors reaches 3,000. On average there are 61 applicants applying per single vacancy,” said Tsotskhalashvili.
In her words, the number of daily visitors was 3,000 in 2012, out of which 750 were unique, in the previous year the number was 850 and the number of unique visitors - 330.
“The development of the agricultural sphere is one of the new government’s strategies. When it comes to constructing enterprises however, they will face a serious problem in terms of lack of professionals. The specialization of manufacturers has been considered an unpopular and largely undesirable profession since the Soviet times,” said Tabatadze.
In her words, market economy dictates the demand for different professions. “Financiers and business managers were a popular profession for a long time but now the situation has changed.”
Besides the lack of qualified workers, Tabatadze said that quite often companies have exaggerated and unrealistic expectations. “They are looking for superb professionals and yet only want to offer GEL 500 as a monthly salary. That is wrong.”
“The current trend will be maintained in the future. Small and medium-sized business will continue requiring accountants, chief accountants, and specialists to expand markets. Trade is well-developed in Georgia and specialists focused on this direction will be required. The focus should be on agronomists. The sector diversifies grain, wheat, and cattle-breeding,” she predicted.
There is no expectation for growth in wage levels in 2014. “There were quite good salary level increases on the market in 2008. Since then there have been no significant changes in this direction. The existing salary range will be maintained in 2014. The lower end of the range will be offered by start-up businesses. As beginners they do not generally pay much to their employees. Besides that, we are experiencing an economic downturn and hence everyone is trying to be as cost effective as possible,” said Tabatadze.
“A start-up needs an introduction to the market, and the attraction of customers; it needs time before it starts gaining profit. Consequently, it takes time before wages for employees start to increase,” she explained.
Tabatadze welcomed the recent changes made to the labour code. “I myself would add some extra changes to a new labour code in favour of the position of employees. Such cooperation should provide proper conditions for employees. At the moment, if an employer wants to fire someone then there is no jurisdiction to stop them. Requiring extra compensation for overtime work is important. Meanwhile, 6 month paid maternity leave would be costly for companies. So the new labour code would increase employers’ costs.”
Maternity leave has been criticized by Kakha Okriashvili, founder of PSP pharmacy. He stated that it would be risky for investors and they would therefore avoid hiring women. “For that reason I do not support these changes, despite the huge respect I hold for women in general,” said Okriashvili.